How to Cook Quinoa: A Beginner’s Guide


Are you looking for a healthy and versatile grain that you can incorporate into your meals? Look no further than quinoa! Quinoa is packed with nutrients and is easy to cook, making it a perfect choice for anyone looking to improve their diet. In this article, we will walk you through how to cook quinoa from start to finish.

First, let’s address the elephant in the room: how do you even pronounce quinoa? It’s KEEN-wah! Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get started.

Quinoa is often referred to as a grain, but it’s actually a seed. It’s a complete protein, which means it contains all nine essential amino acids that our bodies need. It’s also high in fiber, iron, and magnesium. With all these benefits, it’s no wonder that quinoa has become a popular choice for those looking to improve their diets.

Before we dive into how to cook quinoa, let’s discuss the different types of quinoa available. There are three main types: white, red, and black quinoa. They all taste relatively similar, but their textures vary slightly. White quinoa is the most common and has a light, fluffy texture. Red quinoa is slightly chewier and has a nuttier flavor. Black quinoa is the most firm and has a slightly sweet flavor. No matter which type you choose, the cooking process remains the same.

Now that we have covered the basics, let’s get started on how to cook quinoa!

Step 1: Rinse your quinoa

Before cooking your quinoa, it’s important to rinse it thoroughly. Quinoa has a natural coating called saponin, which can make it taste bitter or soapy if not removed. Rinse your quinoa in a fine mesh strainer or colander under cold running water for at least 30 seconds.

Pro tip:

Some quinoa brands come pre-rinsed, but it’s always a good idea to rinse again just to be safe.

Step 2: Measure your ingredients

For every cup of quinoa, you will need 1 ¾ cups of liquid. This can be water or broth, depending on your preference.

Pro tip:

If you want to add some extra flavor to your quinoa, try using chicken or vegetable broth instead of water.

Step 3: Bring the liquid to a boil

In a medium-sized saucepan, bring your liquid to a boil over high heat.

Step 4: Add your quinoa

Once your liquid is boiling, add your rinsed quinoa to the pot. Stir the quinoa and reduce the heat to low.

Pro tip:

To add some extra flavor, you can also add in some herbs, spices, or aromatics like garlic or onion at this point.

Step 5: Cover and simmer

Cover your pot with a tight-fitting lid and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed.

Step 6: Fluff and serve

Once your quinoa is fully cooked, remove it from the heat and let it sit covered for 5 minutes. Then, fluff the quinoa with a fork and serve.

Type of Quinoa Water to Quinoa Ratio Cook Time
White 1.75 : 1 15-20 minutes
Red 2 : 1 15-20 minutes
Black 2 : 1 20-25 minutes


Q: How do I store leftover quinoa?

A: Store leftover quinoa in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Q: Can I freeze cooked quinoa?

A: Yes! Cooked quinoa can be frozen in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to three months.

Q: Can I cook quinoa in a rice cooker?

A: Yes, you can cook quinoa in a rice cooker. Use the same water to quinoa ratio as you would if cooking on the stovetop.

Q: Can I cook quinoa in the microwave?

A: Yes, you can cook quinoa in the microwave. Combine the rinsed quinoa and water in a microwave-safe bowl, cover tightly with microwave-safe plastic wrap, and microwave on high for 5-6 minutes.

Q: Can I substitute quinoa for rice in recipes?

A: Yes! Quinoa can be substituted for rice in many recipes, including stir-fries and pilafs.

Q: Is quinoa gluten-free?

A: Yes, quinoa is gluten-free.

Q: Can I add quinoa to my salads?

A: Absolutely! Quinoa is a great addition to salads and can add some extra protein and texture.

Q: Can I use quinoa flour in baking?

A: Yes, quinoa flour can be used in baking. It’s a great gluten-free alternative to wheat flour.

Q: Can I sprout quinoa?

A: Yes, quinoa can be sprouted. Just rinse the quinoa and soak it in water for 8-12 hours. Rinse again and let it sit in a strainer for 24-48 hours until sprouts appear.

Q: Can I eat quinoa raw?

A: Technically, yes, you can eat quinoa raw. However, it’s not recommended as it can be difficult to digest and may contain toxins. Always cook your quinoa before eating.

Q: Is quinoa expensive?

A: Quinoa can be more expensive than other grains, but it’s still an affordable and healthy option. Plus, a little goes a long way as it expands when cooked.

Q: Can I make quinoa in a slow cooker?

A: Yes, you can make quinoa in a slow cooker. Use the same water to quinoa ratio as you would if cooking on the stovetop and cook on low for 2-3 hours or high for 1-2 hours.

Q: Is quinoa easy to digest?

A: Yes, quinoa is generally easy to digest and is a great option for those with digestive issues.

Q: Can I cook quinoa in a pressure cooker?

A: Yes, you can cook quinoa in a pressure cooker. Use the same water to quinoa ratio as you would if cooking on the stovetop and cook on high pressure for 1 minute, then let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes before releasing any remaining pressure.


Congrats, you now know how to cook quinoa like a pro! With its health benefits and versatility, quinoa is a great addition to any diet. Try adding it to salads, soups, or simply enjoy it as a side dish.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different seasonings and sauces to make your quinoa even more flavorful. And, with so many different recipes available, you’ll never get bored of this superfood. Happy cooking!


The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace medical advice. Be sure to consult with your healthcare provider before making any significant changes to your diet.

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